Valentine’s Day, the holiday that launched a thousand rom-com movies and heart-shaped candies, has a much deeper history than the average person knows.
What is now a day to celebrate your romantic love was originally a Roman festival called “Lupercalia,” that was dedicated to the coming of spring, including fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. It became the holiday that we know today thanks to Pope Gelasius I, who turned it into St. Valentine’s Day in the 5th century. Official celebrations started around the 14th century.
But where does the name “Valentine” come from? Well, there are lots of theories about that one. Some say it was named after a priest who was martyred about 270 AD by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, “the priest signed a letter ‘from your Valentine’ to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and, by some accounts, healed from blindness.” Other legends say it started when a man named St. Valentine “defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war. It is for this reason that his feast day is associated with love.” While all these theories seem plausible, none of them can be officially confirmed.
Back to the present day, Valentine’s Day is not only a fun day to spend with your romantic partner, but also a day to spend with those you love platonically as well. Here are some great last-minute ideas you can do on Valentine’s Day.
1. Get Dessert To-Go at a Local Bakery
Local dessert destinations such as Kilwin’s, Sweet Mimi’s Bakery & Cafe and Mrs. London’s Bakery always have delicious, freshly baked treats on display waiting for someone to take a bite. All three locations are open on Valentine’s Day!
2. Catch a Flick
The Bow-Tie Cinema right off of Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs plays over 15 movies of various genres all day on Valentine’s Day. They even have Oscar-nominated movies such as Little Women, 1917 and the “2020 Best Picture,” winner, Parasite.
Treat Yourself (and Loved Ones)
Whether you have plans with someone or going solo, a day or evening at the spa is time well-spent. Saratoga Springs is home to many spas that offer a wide array of amenities from massages, facials to manicures and pedicures. A couple of ones we would recommend are Complexions Spa, Saratoga Botanicals Organic Spa & Store, and Spa Cascada. You can find everything they offer in their respective links above.